Tag Archives: Universities

Universities urged to do more to support the poorest students⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Student outcomes inequality highlighted in latest Fair Access Commissioner paper.

Higher Education Minister Shirley-Anne Somerville has urged the university sector to do more to support students from the most deprived backgrounds throughout their studies.

It comes as the latest discussion paper from the Commissioner for Fair Access shows the extent of the gap in retention rates, achievement levels and outcomes between students from the most disadvantaged communities and those from better off areas.

Ms Somerville said:

“This report brings in to sharp focus the extent and the range of the barriers which result in students from the most deprived backgrounds experiencing inequality at every step of their journey through university and into adult life.

“The Commissioner sets out a timely challenge to us all to do more to address this shocking inequality. Certainly I accept that challenge on behalf of the Government and would encourage universities to do likewise.

“It is an issue that I have raised consistently with university principals and intend to do so again through the next Widening Access Delivery Group. I have already asked the Scottish Funding Council to consider changes to the university outcome agreements. If more needs to be done to improve their effectiveness, then I will not hesitate to act.

“We must all be focused on picking up the pace of change. I am absolutely determined to ensure that more young people from our poorest communities don’t just make it to fresher’s fair, but to graduation day and beyond.”

Background

The Commissioner for Fair Access Discussion Paper: Retention, Outcomes and Destinations can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

The post Universities urged to do more to support the poorest students appeared first on Engage for Education.

Record student support⤴

from @ Engage for Education

More Higher Education students than ever before are receiving financial assistance from the Scottish Government.

New statistics show 143,110 students received support in 2016-17, up from 141,000 the previous year.

The figures show that almost 3,000 additional students qualified for a non-repayable bursary or saw their funding increase as a result of the income threshold being raised from £17,000 to £19,000 last year. There was also an increase in the number of students receiving support through the Nursing and Midwifery Bursary scheme, from 8,790 to 8,915.

Infographic showing new statistics from Student Awards Agency Scotland showing record investment

 

 

The post Record student support appeared first on Engage for Education.

Widening access – Paula’s story⤴

from @ Engage for Education

At the event to unveil the Fair Access Commissioner at Glasgow University, the new Commissioner and Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville met some of the students who have been able to study at the university thanks to its widening access programme.

Here, one of the students – Paula – shares her story.

Paula Christie

I’m Paula Christie and I’m 40 years old.

I decided to return to education in my 30s after taking time out from a career in financial services following the birth of my two sons. I attended Clydebank College (now West College Scotland) where I completed a SWAP Access course, and from there I moved on to undergraduate study at Glasgow University.

I was awarded a First Class Joint Honours degree in Politics and Central and East European Studies. I was delighted to win a highly competitive 5 year scholarship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and begin an integrated postgraduate language, Masters and PhD programme.

To date I have been awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Russian Language and a Master of Research (Social Sciences) post graduate degree. I’m currently in year one of a three year PhD course in Central and East European Studies, with my research focusing on democratic consolidation and grass roots initiatives in post- Soviet Latvia.

Without exaggeration, the Glasgow University widening access programme allowed me to change my life and the life of my family completely. Working part time after having my children placed a huge financial strain on us and my career choices were becoming increasingly limited. Although, at times, it was tough to deal with the continued pressure of studying, I received much needed financial support from the University’s Hardship and Discretionary Fund which allowed me to complete my undergraduate study. I was also awarded a bursary from the Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust as a result of academic excellence.

I now have qualifications that I never thought possible before returning to college. I have been able to re-train in a completely different field, and I hope to make a positive impact in European and Democracy Studies with the research I’m conducting. I’ve travelled with my studies to places I’d never heard of and have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people.

I am now absolutely delighted to be tutoring on the widening access programme myself, as I feel really passionately about giving others the chance to change their lives through education. The programme has given me not only qualifications, but a renewed confidence in myself and my abilities. It’s been an amazing experience and one I’m keen to encourage others to share.

Commissioner for Fair Access⤴

from @ Engage for Education

Professor Peter Scott has been appointed Commissioner for Fair Access to Higher Education in Scotland.

This was a key point in the report from the Commission on Widening Access published earlier this year. The Scottish Government has committed to implementing its recommendations in full.

Prof Scott is currently Professor of Higher Education studies at University College London.

As Scotland’s Fair Access Commissioner, he will be tasked with driving the fair access agenda and making sure that young people from our most disadvantaged communities are able to reach their full potential

I made the announcement at Glasgow University, where Prof Scott and I were fortunate to be able to speak to students who have benefitted from widening access programmes and are now flourishing in higher education. One of them – Paula – has shared her life-changing story for this blog.

It’s clear from my early discussions with Prof Scott that he has a passion for widening access to higher education.

It’s a passion that I share.  A child born in our poorest communities should, by the time they leave school, have the same chance of going to university as a child born in our wealthiest communities. That is what the Scottish Government is determined to achieve.

UCAS figures published yesterday show the highest ever entry rate to Scottish universities for 18 year olds from Scotland’s 20% most deprived areas. Since 2006, the rate has increased by 3.7 percentage points to 10.9%. That is encouraging, but there is much more to do and the appointment of Prof Scott is an important milestone to achieving that. 

There is more information about Prof Scott below, including the comments he made at today’s event.

Prof Scott said:

“It is a great honour, and challenge, to be appointed Commissioner for Fair Access. The greatest challenge facing all Higher Education systems in the world is how to remove barriers to fair access, and reduce the glaring inequalities in participation between haves and have-nots.

“These inequalities undermine our efforts to build a high-skill economy and, more fundamentally, deny individuals the opportunities that should be available to all citizens in a democracy.

“I look forward very much to working with universities, colleges and schools as well as the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Government to address these challenges.”

Biography

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Professor Peter Scott is Professor of Higher Education studies at University College London.

Prior to that he was Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University and Pro Vice-Chancellor for external affairs at the University of Leeds. He was a member of the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England where he chaired its widening participation strategic committee.

His earlier career was spent in journalism and he was Editor of the Times Higher Education.

Professor Scott was knighted in 2007 for services to education and is the recipient of a number of honorary degrees. He has published widely on education, including widening access issues.